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Lime-Away damaged stainless steel sink

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thumbs down sign Never let a student intern stay in your home while you're gone ... without numerous home care in services! Mine used a Lysol calcium/hard water remover on my stainless steel under mount sinks! For maximum effect, left coating on until dried?! Now its finish/shine is GONE. Is there any way of restoring the stainless steel finish now??
Respectfully yours,
A horrified reformed

Teri Listening
- Chandler Arizona
I'm an embarrassed Master Lifecoach and (RetVet) FNP-C using my med.exp. with mental health to support Hosp. Staff coping with our 5th pandemic since 2011. My USM Ancillary App't was Infection Control x30yrs.
ResolveThruSharing 636-751-1646 crisis calls only between 0600-1800 M-F

February 14, 2023

⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. I used Lime-Away on the "crust" around my sink faucets, and got some on my stainless steel sink. Now the stainless steel has turned black, and stainless steel cleaner does nothing for the problem. Is there a product that will restore my new sink?

Tim H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
homeowner - Fort Scott, Kansas

A. Try to clean it with a cleanser like Bon-Ami [affil links].

Simon D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Roseville, Minnesota

A. Lime Away is very hard on stainless steel. I think they have a warning on the bottle about this.

You can get rid of the lime stains with a citric cleaner safely, but once you have the black surface from the LimeAway it is very hard to fix. Best solution most people find with safe materials is to refinish the steel with ScotchBrite (TM) or similar non-iron containing abrasive. It will be some work. You can use an electrical polisher, of course. This all depends on whether your sink surface is capable of doing the mechanical process.

lee kremer
lee kremer sig
Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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A. Use car polish (not wax), a good amount of clean cotton rags, effort and a lot of patience. It will shine again.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

Q. I have a question regarding stainless steel sinks. I have a new Elkay sink that was installed in my home during a recent remodel. Shortly after we finished construction, I noticed some deep scratches in the finish. I was told to use water proof metal sandpaper w/ a cleaner/polish as an agent to remove the scratches. In the process, I actually created some hazy areas in the sink and I am unable to recapture the original finish. Is there anyway to refinish or buff out this hazing and the scratches?

Dan E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
homeowner - San Mateo, California

Q. I used Lime Away to clean a hot glue gun (long long story) & when I was done I rinsed out the sponge, put it in the stainless steel sink and forgot about it till about 18 hours later when I hear my mom scream. Where the sponge was laying is discolored; apparently I didn't rinse it out well enough. I didn't know it would hurt the sink so didn't rinse it out that much. A little of the discoloration is dull medium-gray but most of it is only slightly dull gray.

I read the responses to the first/starting question and was wondering if anyone knew what brand of car polish (if it matters) should be used.

Katie S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lutz, Florida

A. I don't think the brand will matter nearly as much as that you want polish (abrasives, cutting action), not wax.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I used Don Aslett's shower and stuff for my stainless steel sinks. It contains phosphorus and acid as far as I remember. Forgot the stuff on the sinks and let it dry. Now my sinks are discolored. One worse than the other. I used fine 00 steel wool [on eBay or Amazon] and Barkeepers Friend [on eBay or Amazon], which made it better. I can still see some black streaks. Is there anything I can use. I know that it is in the metal. Am I causing more problems using abrasives?

Joan S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
housewife/ cleaner - St Martinville, Louisiana

Bronze Wool

(affil links)

A. Don't use steel wool on stainless steel, Joan! I know it is hard to believe, but even the tiniest traces of plain steel will cause stainless to rust; stainless steel items receive a special chemical treatment called "passivation" before leaving the factory to dissolve any tiny traces of plain steel left on them from contact with steel tooling during their manufacture.

If those green scotch brite look like they scratch the stainless and you don't want to use them, please try bronze wool rather than steel wool. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Hi,

Stainless Steel Black / Gray discoloration stains from Drano/ lemon juice/ hot water/ clogged drain cleaning process. We had a recent clogged drain in our kitchen sink. Like everyone, proceeded with several home remedies like hot water and lemon juice, Drano MAX, baking soda etc.

As the drain was clogged, it started fuming. Put a towel on it and called the plumber. 2 hours later, the drain was unclogged and the sink clear.

But now the sides of the sink (above water level) are badly discolored. I have tried Barkeepers Friend , vinegar, bleach, NOTHING worked. So I decided to take a trip to Ace to get Brasso after a friend suggested it. NOPE, DIDN'T WORK. Went back to Ace to pick up NEVR-DULL (someone on this site suggested it) and the lady at Ace showed me a different product Bio-Clean Products Hard Water Stain Remover and said it was guaranteed to work so if it didn't I could return it and get my money back! My husband & I both started scrubbing, I used NEVR DULL and he used the Bio-Clean.

Bio-Clean Water Stain Remover

on eBay or


(affil links)

Never Dull Polish

(affil links)

30186-2d   30186-2c

After lots of elbow grease and using BOTH products I am proud to say it worked! My sink is prettier now than it was before I destroyed it.


Betsy Power
- Sarasota, Florida USA
June 20, 2020

A. A hard water cleaner (with sulfamic acid) left horrible black marks on my stainless steel sink. I used a liquid scouring product with oxalic acid (suggested after a google search to this site and watching a You Tube video) and then a ceramic cook-top cleaner and stainless steel spray cleaner (of the same brand) to alleviate the mess. I scrubbed 2 or 3 times with the scouring agent with a small brush, as well as a"scrubbie sponge". It helped quite a bit. The ceramic stove top cleaner seems to have worked to remove hard-water deposits as well as staining. I applied and used paper towels rubbing briskly in the direction of the "grain". I could see the black marks being removed on the paper towel. The stainless steel cleaner removed more of the spots and left a nice shine. I used a terrycloth shop towel with lots of pressure for this part of the process. I may need one more round of each but it is so much better.
Hint: read all directions AND consult the product website when using cleaning products.

L Garcia
- Tucson, Arizona
June 25, 2020

A. I was happy to find I wasn't the only one who had "ruined" my stainless appliance with lime remover. Also thankful to everyone who posted possible solutions. I was cleaning the drip tray of the fridge's water in the door area & it dripped down on the stainless. When I wiped it off, it only made the stained area bigger! I decided to try what I had on hand at home first. Brasso did not work. Before trying car polish I pulled out a very old jar of a Shaklee product which I hadn't used in years but should probably use instead of the white paste for stove tops! It was once called "At Ease"---a dark pink, cherry scented paste. And it worked! It's now called Scour Off [on eBay or Amazon]. One little jar will nearly last you a lifetime!

K LaGambina
- Orlando, Florida
July 5, 2020

Q. I saw online that you clean the kitchen sink with lime-a-way & they say leave it for a few minutes. I leave it for 15 min. Now my sink changed to a little bit clean silver & black line. What do I do or use to change back my silver color?

Trisha Dao
House Cleaning - Anaheim,Ca
June 13, 2022

thumbs down sign I did the same thing. I've scrubbed with comet and it looks terrible. I hope you get an answer and I'll be able to see it. It's a bummer because I just got a new faucet.
Good luck!

Wandie Rees
- Shawnee, Kansas
June 29, 2022

A. I have the same problem and have tried lots of things over the past month with no joy; however, last night I used lemon juice directly onto the stains and used my dishmatic sponge with dish soap to scrub and the stains are very noticeably getting lighter also filled sink with hot water and lemon juice and left over night then repeated the lemon juice and dish soap scrubbing this morning stains are gone from base of sink and much less noticeable around sides

Karen Aitken
- London, UK
July 1, 2022

Q. @Sammi Wiebe I'm using the turtlewax rubbing compound [on eBay or Amazon] like you did. I rubbed it on, so how long do you leave it on? Because you didn't say. Can you let me know?

Cheryl walton
- Nebraska
July 23, 2022

A. Hi Cheryl. Sammi's posting was from 6 years ago so we may not be able to make contact, let alone expect an answer. But rubbing compound is an abrasive; although it's good to let it dry on, once it's dry it's not doing anything but waiting for you to rub it off -- it's in that rubbing off that the abrasive is functioning. So whether you leave it 15 minutes or 2 hours or overnight will probably make no difference.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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